Works by Joost Baljeu, Kho Liang Ie, Carel Weeber and Jaap Bakema and others from the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut are on display from 23 March at the Design Museum in Den Bosch in the exhibition ‘Modern Nederland 1963-1989’, which examines the role of the Dutch government as a patron of modern design.
"Although Dutch modernism of the period 1963-1989 was part of an international movement, it had a conspicuous, distinctive, societal ambition of its own, with characteristic design featuring abstraction and geometric shapes. State-owned companies such as the PTT (the postal and telecommunications service), the railways and the tax authorities expressed a common concept that was anti-traditional, tolerant and democratic. From postage stamps to the Delta works, the government made its mark on public design." (Website Design Museum)
Dutch Pavilion in Osaka
The theme of Expo ’70 in Osaka was ‘Progress and Harmony for Mankind’. The master plan for the world’s fair was developed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Expo ’70 was programmed for a generation that had grown up with television rather than books. The multimedia spectacle in Osaka promoted the humanisation of new information and communications technologies, especially computers and audio-visual media.
In Osaka, the Dutch government presented itself with a pavilion designed by Carel Weeber and Jaap Bakema as a ‘viewing machine’: a multimedia environment in which the visitor was immersed in three-dimensional collages of impressionistic images by filmmaker Jan Vrijman and sounds by composer Louis Andriessen.
Weeber’s and Bakema’s design facilitated this goal: the pavilion consisted of three stacked, closed containers that created an optimal space for projecting films. The containers were rotated in relation to each other and fixed to towers. Three thousand visitors per hour were conveyed via escalators from the central hall to the exhibition galleries. The hall was situated in the base, suspended almost 2.5 metres above the ground, accessed via a bridge over the water that surrounded the building. The pavilion was clad with 3-cm-thick concrete panels sprayed with aluminium paint.
The exhibition features the presentation model of the definitive design, a maquettefoto and a drawing of the provisional design.
The visual artist Joost Baljeu took inspiration from the avant-garde movements of the first half of the twentieth century. He and the architect Dick van Woerkom made a series of models in which they sought to integrate the possibilities of architecture and visual art in the spirit of De Stijl. They were especially inspired by a collaboration between Theo Van Doesburg and Cornelis van Eesteren from 1923. The idea was to fuse painting and sculpture with architecture to create a unified whole. The collaboration resulted in several models for houses and studios.
In practice, this search for a synthesis came up against the practical objections of clients, and many of the projects remained unrealised. The unexecuted design for a single-family dwelling from 1961, for example, is made up of floors, roofs, walls and facades that slide over one another. The painted-wood models were more a visualisation of a spatial construction or a three-dimensional painting than designs for realisable architecture.
The exhibition features eight models by Joost Baljeu, several of which were made in collaboration with Dick van Woerkom.
Kho Liang Ie
Industrial designer Kho Liang Ie made an important contribution to the rapid development of Dutch design after 1955. He began his career at Stichting Goed Wonen (Good Living Foundation), an organisation that aimed to improve public taste in the field of interior design. Dissatisfied with the rather dogmatic modernism espoused by Goed Wonen, in 1957 he moved to the furniture manufacturer Artifort.
Kho was one of the first designers not to restrict himself to designing individual items of furniture but instead to view design as an all-embracing concept and was one of the pioneers of corporate identity in the Netherlands. With his clear functional designs, Kho had established such a reputation by 1962 that he was commissioned to design the interior of the new Schiphol airport, from the seating, counters and wall tiling to the ashtrays, ceiling systems and – together with Benno Wissing from Total Design – the signage: all in a characteristically sober style that exuded calm and harmony.
Kho Liang Ie quoted in De Telegraaf, 1967: ‘Air travellers are nervous and tense. For that reason, I have attempted to invest the space with clarity. I have studied how people behave in airports and that was decisive for my design.’
The exhibition features two design drawings and the wood-bound Schiphol Book with interior photographs, design studies and hand-written commentary. After Schiphol, Kho was commissioned to design the interior of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, for which he designed a series of pictograms, several of which are also included in the exhibition.
‘Modern Nederland 1963-1989’ is at the Design Museum in Den Bosch from 23 March to 18 August 2019.
The loans for this exhibition include works by Carel Weeber, Jaap Bakema, Joost Baljeu, Dick van Woerkom, Van den Broek & Bakema, Herman Hertzberger and J.J.P. Oud (reconstructions).
Works from the archives and library collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut are loaned out for exhibitions both in the Netherlands and abroad. This page contains practical information on loans, and a selection of exhbitions.
What is the Netherlands
14 entries to the World Expo
In the context of the 34th World Expo opening in Milan this spring, Het Nieuwe Instituut addresses this phenomenon from different perspectives between April 26 and August 23. The exhibition What is the Netherlands shows how the Dutch entries to the World Expo have always been the result of collaborations between government, industry, designers and artists.